Do You Know the Top 4 Causes of Residential Property Damage?

No homeowner wants to face property damage serious enough to force an insurance claim. Filing a claim ultimately results in insurance rates going up. It’s strange to think that you have to pay more for a product because you have to actually use it, but that’s the way property insurance works. Damage claims drive rates up.

On that happy note, do you know the leading causes of residential property damage? The top four are discussed below. They are taken from a Vivint Smart Home blog post from October 2022. Vivint based their post on 2020 information compiled by the Insurance Information Institute.

1. Burglary

To add some extra excitement, let’s count down from the most common cause of residential property damage from fourth to first. Checking in at number four is burglary. Property damage related to burglary comes in all shapes and sizes. For example:

  • Broken doors and door frames
  • Shattered windows and ripped screens
  • Shattered rear patio doors
  • Broken car windows.

In relation to car damage, it is still considered burglary-related because breaking into a car constitutes burglary under the law. The same goes for any damage done to outbuildings like sheds, workshops, etc.

2. Water

Unless you live in an area that is prone to heavy flooding, you probably don’t think twice about potential water damage. You might not also truly appreciate how devastating water can be. Something we all need to survive can actually end up destroying our homes or even killing us. Water is a powerful force.

Water damage can be the result of seasonal or flash flooding. It can be the result of unusually heavy rains that overwhelm a home’s foundation. But water damage is also caused by faulty plumbing, frozen pipes, malfunctioning dishwashers and washing machines, and water heater failures.

3. Fire and Lightning

Although most of us would probably categorize fire and lightning separately, Vivint chose to present them together. They did so because lightning doesn’t tend to cause a lot of property damage on its own. It is when lightning sparks a fire that you have real problems. And yes, that happens more often than people know.

Believe it or not, fire departments across the U.S. respond to tens of thousands of fires every year, fires started by lightning strikes. Such fires are most common from June through August. Moreover, lightning-sparked fires are not limited to structures. Dozens of forest fires every year are a direct result of lightning strikes.

In a more general sense, fires cause devastating damage to residential structures. Unfortunately, homes are filled with flammable materials. Just a single spark or the wayward flame of a candle can turn a home into an inferno in a matter of minutes.

4. Wind and Hail

The number one cause of residential property damage is the combination of wind and hail. The wind is a powerful force all on its own. Ask anyone who has first-hand experience with hurricanes and tornadoes. Hurricane force winds can rip the roof off a building. A tornado can uproot entire sections of a house and carry them miles away before dropping them.

Hail is more or less chunks of ice falling from the sky. Needless to say that a hailstorm can be very destructive whether there is wind involved or not. Hail the size of golf balls can break car windows, dent aluminum siding, and do a number on a roof. Combine hail and wind together and you have a force to be reckoned with.

There is no shortage of things capable of causing residential property damage. Now you know the top four. Have you experienced any of them yourself?